By Katie Sobiech
Emerge Counseling Services is not your ordinary counselors office.
Their involvement and engagement in the community is just another aspect of their services that sets them apart.
The latest is their involvement in “The Daughter Project”, offering free counseling to girls who were once caught up in human trafficking.
The Daughter Project
“We recently partnered up with The Daughter Project. (There is a) counselor who is meeting with girls who have been involved in human trafficking and are now living in a home together,” Bell said.
“We‘re partnering up with them, we’re raising the money so that we can see these girls, and it’s been great. We recently put a focus on that and our President John Palmer has done an amazing job raising monies so that this can continue to be something that we do in the community,” Bell continued.
All counseling services are offered to the girls, free-of-charge.
“The girls don’t have money themselves. You know, life has been tough for them. So we raise money so that we can pay our clinicians to see these girls for free basically,” Bell explained.
Partnering with Community Organizations
Emerge is also creating partnerships throughout the community, and playing their part in contributing to make it a better place.
One of those partnerships is with United Way.
“Through United Way we are able to get a group of volunteers that come in and help us around the building. They’ve done some painting projects, some landscape work outside – just things that we are unable to get to and we just don’t have the resources available. So they come in and help us,” Bell said.
They also give back. One way is through projects with the Salvation Army.
“We’re calling it our “Waiting Room Initiative Projects”. It’s our way at Emerge to give back. We’re trying to give back to the community,” Bell said.
“We have volunteers that help us, people who financially support us, churches who financially support us and so we want to put our energies back into the community,” Bell said.
This past Christmas they were involved in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Project.
“We had fifty little angels that hung on the tree with gifts that children needed in the area. Every single one of those tags were taken and we had tons of gifts. It was heartwarming. It was amazing. We had about eight bikes that were brought for children. One person saw that the need for one of the clients was a bed and it was for a teenager and so she said she (wanted to do it),” Bell shared.
“Just anything that we can do to give back to the community as they’ve given back to us,” she continued.
They also do a coat drive called “Warm Up Akron”. The information is placed in their waiting room so that anyone can participate.
“Our own team supports it fully and they have probably taken a lot of those little angels off of the tree themselves.” Bell said.
They’ve also partnered with OPEN M, a local free-health clinic for those in poverty.
“We’ve raised money to be able to send someone over to OPEN M to offer counseling a couple of hours a week,” Bell said.
On the Look-Out
And now, they are even looking for volunteers.
“It’s a little bit newer thing. We’ve always accepted volunteers, but we’re really making a push for volunteers. Our ministry has grown. The opportunity is available a little bit more often, so we thought we’d put a focus in on it,” Bell said.
One of their next projects is a food drive before Easter.
If you are interested in Emerge coming to your church, or any of their services please visit their webpage http://www.emerge.org for more information!